3 Artist Rules That Apply To Life

Along with our creative careers, Klee and I also do YouTube Videos. The videos are mostly geared towards artists, but also have a lot of life advice that we have picked up the hard way, mostly by living life as career artists.

When you are an artist, you live a life full of fun things like constant rejection, people thinking you do drugs, people feeling sorry for your life choices, banks denying you for a home loan (while smirking at how cute it was that you walked into the bank in the first place), people thinking you should get a “real job”, and general disapproval of your status as a contributing member of society.

Don’t get me wrong, being a career artist is amazing, but not everyone looks at us in a healthy light, and if you don’t have your thoughts in the right place, it can destroy your emotional state. I’ve seen people crumble after one rejection and give up.

That’s why I think as artists, we can have an advantage in living a happy life, because we have to face rejection, find our inspiration, manage a business, manage a stream of income that is unpredictable, create product that is considered a luxury to most of the world (even though I will argue that owning art is one of the healthiest things you can do), deal with our own insecurities, and constantly have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in order to stay relevant… I know, I’m not selling the concept, but bear with me.

Rafi and klee

As an artist you have to face your fears, if you run away from them, there really is no way to make a career of it.

So, here are the 3 rules that I would say apply to everything in life, but also to having an art career.

  • Be authentic.
    Paint or create only that which interests you, in the way you choose to paint or create it. Don’t change your approach to gain sales, popularity or acceptance. You will never do your best work if you do. In life, you will become trapped in a version of you that isn’t real. It is much simpler to be yourself, that way you can surround yourself with people that you don’t have to put on an act for.
  • Compete only with yourself.
    Avoid competitions, contests and measuring yourself by how many shows you’ve gotten into or awards you’ve won. Seek validation internally, you will never please everyone. Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone on any level. You are the most perfect version of you that exists in the world. It’s when you try to be someone else that you’ll think you see flaws in something that is inherently perfect.
  • Remember that it takes a lifetime.
    You can’t just sign up for a workshop or go to an art class once a week and expect gallery representation and collectors to follow shortly thereafter. It takes time. Be patient in life, but take every opportunity you can to smile, laugh, love, show your art, and have fun. You may get rejected, but that’s all part of this wonderful journey we are on. If rejection doesn’t bother you, then you are halfway there.
Rafi and Klee Photography

The goal should not be to get famous or rich, just to enjoy your precious life as much as possible. If you get rich and famous in the process, that is just bonus.

I Burst Into Tears… Well, Kinda.

Empowering Art By Rafi Perez

The other day I was thinking about working on a special piece. I started sketching it out and thinking about the meaning. Someone being pulled in so many different directions that he becomes a puppet to the world around him.

Art By Rafi Perez

While talking to Klee about it, I broke down and my eyes started tearing up. The only reason I didn’t go into a full sob was the fact that I was so surprised at my emotions.

Listen, I am a grown ass man, and I’m not embarrassed to cry, or admit that I cry, but this actually caught me off guard.

It made me realize that something had felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but deep down I knew something was bothering me.

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

For the most part I’m a pretty happy guy, in fact our following online knows us for our upbeat perspectives on life and being artists full time.

Over the last few years I had developed a public image of a guy who’s genuine, creative, happy, upbeat, and loving life. But recently I had been a little stressed about some things… and I didn’t feel like myself. Worse, was the idea that I had never been that guy and that my entire life was a sham.

Luckily, Klee was there to talk sense into my confused brain unit. She told me that the only reputation I had to uphold was to be the real me. She said I have a really hard time being anything not real, so I have nothing to worry about.

2 Birds On A Wire By Rafi Perez

I guess sometimes you may try to bury things inside, but they’ll always come up to the surface for you to look at and face head on. So next time you cry during a cheesy commercial, think about that.

I was allowing myself to feel like I was less than who I am, and that everyone was pulling me in different directions. I have done a lot of work on myself for over a decade, to make sure I am comfortable with who I am, and that’s who everyone sees.

Whether it’s in a YouTube video, a blog, a work of art, it will always be me… So, if anyone expects anything different, then they’ve never looked at any of my stuff before.

Moral of the story… Just be you, it’s way easier than not being you.

Get Out of Your Head and Into The World

As an artist, I work from home, in my studio, on my laptop, at the easel, and sitting on the couch sketching. We have a YouTube channel, Patreon account and other social media where we connect with many people online, but few “real-life” interactions.

Rafi Perez in his art studio

Luckily, Klee and I share an art career and get to spend that time together in the studio, but sometimes we can spend over a week inside. There are times when talking with the cashier at the grocery store is the social highlight of our day.

Klee In The Studio

In a world where so much happens online, we have to be careful to not neglect the importance of real face-to-face connection.

I find that sometimes things can feel a little disconnected when you don’t venture out much. Listen, I love our studio time, and I totally thrive as a hermit… but sometimes it can go too far.

If you’re going through a tough time, you might feel especially inclined to isolate yourself, but it’s only going to make things worse. I find that even when I don’t want to be around people, it’s important to surround yourself with people you love, and people who inspire you.

Rafi and Klee Art

So next time you are feeling a bit down, or you are stuck in your head, go outside. Interact with humans, have fun, and live an adventure with people who inspire you.

Then, once you get your fill, go back to your creative hermit hole inspired to create your next masterpiece.

The Little Things In Life Are Huge

Recently Klee and I went up north to go see my daughter’s lead performance in her last High school play. It was an amazing trip, watching her on stage was a highlight of the year. I don’t think I can describe in words how proud I am. I’m also happy that Klee and I had the opportunity to talk in the car for 28 hours of driving.

Rafi and Klee travel

I’ll be honest, before we left I was a little stressed about time and finances. This year has been a bit slow starting for us, and although I know things always look up, I was in the thick of it while paying and planning for the trip.

I also knew that the long drive would be a great opportunity to talk things out and figure out what was going on in my head. I’m usually very optimistic and tend to feel empowered in most situations, but somehow I had lost my grasp and was venturing into a dark place. This drive would be a great way to dig deep.

Final Bow

One of the things that struck me while investigating my head was that I was distracted. My mind would wander into worst case scenarios and I would miss the experience I was in. I noticed that Klee had to repeat herself at times because I just wasn’t there. What was interesting about this, was that life was happening, and I was missing it.

I thought about all those little moments that we fail to notice, and how freeing it is to appreciate those little moments.

Rafi at Natural Falls

And yet most of the time we fail to notice them. We don’t recognize them properly, forget them, or simply take them for granted.

Once I realized this, I made a mental list of reasons why gratitude for the little things in life is important.

Appreciating the little things in life means that you focus your attention on what nurtures, sustains, and brings you even the smallest amount of pleasure. By appreciating life, you won’t stop bad stuff from happening, but you’ll learn how to stop emphasizing the meaning of bad events in your life.

Rafi and Klee Art Mobile

Once you take a moment to appreciate an act of kindness coming from someone you love or a person you don’t even know, you’ll become more aware of your belonging to a community of people who care about each other. Reciprocating these actions only helps to strengthen these social bonds.

Resilient people build their strengths on positive emotions. These emotions simply help them to cope with difficult situations.

Rafi and Klee travel

When you’re in the middle of a life event, it’s important that you savor it as much as you can. Choose to be present in the now. When you’re living with more awareness, you notice everything – the little pieces of everyday beauty.

I think we tend to get caught up in the drama of our minds and forget that life is beautiful, precious, and short. So stop and appreciate all of it.

Guiding Star And Butterfly Warrior

We have been busy in the studio and have some awesome pieces that we want to share with you. Enjoy!


Rustic Sterling Silver Compass Necklace

Rustic Sterling Silver Compass Necklace

This piece for me is all about keeping a “guiding star” talisman close to heart. Something that reminds us of our true north. Whether that’s a person, place, belief, goal, or anything that keeps us growing and moving forward on our individual journeys, it’s meant to be a small reminder of that. I personally like to wear jewelry that helps me stay focused on what’s important to me and what’s true for me.

I wanted it to have a very rustic old world feeling about it, as though it’s a piece of bullion or an ancient compass artifact. I felt it was important to acknowledge the human history of journey and self discovery, and I also wanted it, for the wearer, to feel as though it was always there with them and always would be there, as a steady and steadfast companion. -Klee

Butterfly Warrior Original Painting Art By Artist Rafi Perez Mixed Medium on Canvas 18X24

Butterfly Warrior

This piece symbolizes the two sides of empowerment. The fierce and tender nature of someone who takes fate and destiny into their own hands. The butterfly symbolizes cause and effect. The sword symbolizes the knowledge that she can overcome any obstacle that is in her way.

In my mind it is important to maintain that balance. To know that you are truly powerful, you understand that it is all about giving. One who has true power, will always defend and show love. Powerlessness and insecurity is where displays of power come in. -Rafi

Artistic People Are Difficult To Understand?!?!

There is this interesting thing that happens when someone finds out I’m an artist. They will automatically jump to one conclusion or another about what that means. Usually it has something to do with my personality, they expect some artist version of a role you would see in a movie. Someone eccentric, colorful, and grandiose. I’m sure I have been accused of being all of those things at one point in my life. Granted, I have my moments, but I think we all do to one extent or another.

I recently ran across an article that stated 15 reasons why artistic people are difficult to understand. This article surprised me a little because it seemed like there was a possibility that the author was a little bias against artistic people.

Now to be fair, all 15 reasons that she stated were valid, but not just for artists, nor do they apply to every artist. If you’ve followed any of my art, watched our videos, or listened to our podcasts, you know that I am totally against being put into a niche or grouping.

I think it’s a defense mechanism to put people in a grouping to help you simplify the world and make it easier for you to navigate. The problem is that everyone is extremely different and have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, motivations, and way of thinking.

To say that every artist is like this or that is a generalization that is false, yet many times we convince ourselves of silly things just because simple is good. But a simple generalization can be dangerous, we see it all the time with hate groups, opposing political or religious views. No one listens or bothers to speak actual words to each other because they assume to know the other person’s modus operandi based on what they think is their group’s entire point of view.

In fact, in reading this, you may have grouped me either into your group or out of your group. Depending on which group I am now a part of, you will either agree with what I have to say or be insulted by my words. That is what makes it both fascinating and scary.

Despite what anyone has tried to say to me about various said groups, I find beautiful people in all, and I also find some douche bags in all. In my opinion, I would rather meet an individual and base my opinion on their actions and comments than the actions and comments of a group that I assume they are a part of. People are not that predictable, no matter how much you try to simplify them.

Besides, according to the article, I’m eccentric and extremely good looking, so I can get away with thinking this way.

I found it interesting in the article that she had some absolutely ridiculous generalizations posed as facts about artists. It made me wonder how many people read that article and now believe that those statements are true. Don’t believe what you read on the internet!

Watch our entertaining video about our reaction to the 15 reasons.

https://youtu.be/F6TPvNmSKkU

5 Things I Remind Myself Of Every Day

Believing in yourself can be tough, but I can honestly say that it is my self belief that helps me really make the most out of this precious life that I am experiencing right now.

There are 5 things I remind myself of daily in order to really get the most out of life.

Do as much as you can to experience new experiences.

#1 Time is short

It might sound a little morbid, but the idea that our lives could end at any moment causes me to both evaluate the relationships that I am in, and really appreciate the people I love. It also reminds me that life is too short to spend any time worrying about something and not simply doing something about it.

I’m willing to talk to anyone, even if it scares me.

#2 Be fearless in taking the next step and enjoying life

Taking the right risk is one of the most important aspects of being happy in life. Always take the first step with optimism and a gusto for life. I knew a beautiful woman who was 88 years old, and one day I saw her riding on the back of a motorcycle. It was her first ride ever, she was smiling from ear to ear and said “If not now, when?” that’s been my motto ever since. As an artist, my entire career is one emotional and financial risk, and if I wasn’t willing to face those fears, I wouldn’t be enjoying what I’m doing now. Listen, if it doesn’t work out at first, you are always free to try it again.

Time is going to pass anyway, so I might as well work a little every day towards what I want.

#3 Time is going to pass by anyhow

Sometimes it seems like certain things I want to do are going to take such a long time to accomplish. In the past, I would quit before I even started because it was disheartening. I realized later that time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well chip at that wall.

#4 Don’t allow yourself to settle

I remember a while back looking at my life and thinking “That’s it? That’s all there is to my life?” I was miserable. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I had a mentality that was putting me in a miserable place. I settled for things that were satisfactory, but not satisfying. My relationships, my job, my car, my friends, and my self esteem was satisfactory… Life didn’t become satisfying until I decided reevaluate my priorities.

Every day has the potential to be awesome or not, you decide.

#5 Take every day as a new chance

Today is a day for you to begin creating your unique and fulfilling life. Today is the day to begin to release all your limitations. Today is the day for you to learn the secrets of your life. Today you realize you already have the tools within you to do so… and if today was just eh, move on from it, because you get 365 days a year to practice being awesome.

New Art And Jewelry By Rafi And Klee 1-24-2019

Well, it looks like we are putting one of our 2019 resolutions into effect.

“Smile a lot and share your art as much as possible… especially with your email subscribers” and hey! that’s you!!

Rafi The Beardo

Once a week I’ll be sending you a new post with our creations for the week, with an inspiring quote or something, I haven’t really decided yet… but it’ll be great.

So let’s do this! ” Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” — George Addair

New Jewelry By Klee Angelie This Week

New Jewelry By Klee Angelie 1-24-2019

New Art By Rafi Perez This Week

New Art By Rafi Perez 1-24-19

New T-Shirts This Week

New Tee Shirt Designs By Rafi 1-24-2019

New Posters Designed By Rafi This Week

New Posters By Rafi Perez 1-24-19

If you click on the images above it’ll take you to our store and you can read more information about the items.

Have an amazing week you guys!

Welcome To 2019 Earthlings

This time of year I always seem to find myself more contemplative than ever. It’s almost like I can’t help but evaluate my experiences of last year and come up with a fuzzy idea of a plan that is not really a plan for the new year.

Rafi Perez Painting Explorer

I think everyone does this to one extent or another. I remember back in my less optimistic days, this time of year was only a reminder that time was running out. I would spend most of my time thinking about lost opportunities, and how terrible my year went. Yeah, I was not a ray of sunshine back then, and to be honest, my life was a reflection of my attitude.

Luckily for me, I stopped being a dumb-ass and started to appreciate this thing we call life.

My new year resolutions are not the typical “I want my butt to look better in jeans” type of resolutions (my butt looks great in jeans, btw), they have more to do with realizations I had throughout the year.

The one that is really on my mind is based on our recent trips and around 60 hours worth of conversations on said trips with Klee.

  • Appreciating every single individual moment that I spend being alive, and really taking advantage of the fact that I am breathing and able to make decisions that impact my life now. Essentially, not waiting around for things to happen, but just living now. Our experience last year was a solid realization that life is extremely short… So EVERY moment is precious.
  • Remembering that I am unique, but so is everyone else and there really isn’t such a thing as normal. Everyone is weird, but there are those who embrace it, and there are those who hide it. Embrace it always.

Well, that’s all I have so far, it’s still a work in progress and Klee and I will probably have some long conversations about feelings, goals, life, and other fun stuff. Have fun figuring out your awesome resolutions for 2019.

Oh yeah, play more guitar, write more blogs, film more videos, create more amazing art, and try to ween myself off of Snyder’s buffalo pretzel bits, those are on the list as well, so we’ll see how those go for 2019. Just kidding on the pretzel bits, I’m never gonna give those up.

Rafi Perez Playing Guitar

4 Special Stocking Stuffers To Give From Rafi And Klee

That time of year is upon us where we desperately try to remember what the people who are near and dear to us would like in their stocking. In the spirit of the holidays I have compiled a list of our most popular stuff to stuff a stocking with.

These are gifts that are both affordable and meaningful from our collections of fine jewelry and fine art.

Rafi and Klee Christmas 2015

PLEASE NOTE: While people are generally overflowing with joy and uncontainable excitement, this season can also cause a bit of stress for us with increased orders and workload or winter storms that can drastically impact delivery times. It is important to us that you get your gifts.

Order-Deadline-Rafi-and-Klee
Order cutoff dates are as follows, to ensure timely delivery for Christmas. Domestic orders (continental US), for bespoke (made to order) items: December 11th. Limited collection (ready to ship) items: Dec 17th. All international orders: December 3rd.

Ok, now that’s out of the way, on to the fun:

Tiny Hammered Disk Earrings – Sterling Silver and 14k Solid Gold “Mini Gong” Earrings $59.00

Mini Gong Earrings
These elegant little sterling silver concave disk earrings feature subtle hammered texture, beautiful light play, minimalist design, and mixed metal versatility with 14k solid gold hexagonal beads nested in each disk. They wear perfectly for dress up or dress down and look amazing with just about anything. These just might be your new favorite wear everyday earrings.

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Three Little Birds Wall Art by artist Rafi Perez Original Artist Enhanced Print On Wood $25.00

Curate Your Space
This is a high quality print of my work on textured archival art paper. I enhance my prints using either ink, paint, pastel, or a combination of mediums. Each one is unique, this Piece is mounted on wood and ready to hang out of the box. It is completely hand crafted by me, with unique texture patterns added by hand, no two are exactly the same. These pieces are signed and dated on the back. Check Out rest of my CURATE YOUR SPACE pieces.

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Green Fluorite Crystal Necklace – Solid Sterling Silver – Raw Fluorite Octahedron Crystal – Long Layering Necklace $60.00 (Was $75.00)

Green Fluorite Crystal Necklace
A luminous raw pale green fluorite octahedron sits serene in it’s solid sterling silver woven bezel. The design is reminiscent of cathedral windows and old world lanterns, centering on the beauty of the light that passes through the crystal. A modern interpretation of a beautiful relic from times gone by. This fluorite crystal is raw and translucent with some beautiful crystal inclusions. Worn alone or layered with shorter necklaces, it makes a contemporary but organic statement.

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Four Seasons – 4 Piece – Tree Paintings on Reclaimed Wood By Artist Rafi Perez $131.75 (was $155.00)

Seasons of change
Original Abstract Textured Tree Mixed Medium Paintings on Re-purposed wood Part of “The Seasons of Change Series” This series came together over a period of time in which I experimented with the feeling of the season. Eventually the Seasons of Change evolved to what you see now.

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Also! Don’t forget! Calendar Order deadline is tomorrow, December 5th. Please order yours before they are gone.

Shop-Calendars-2019